For the first time, the Dominican Republic topped the list of most popular international destinations for Thanksgiving travelers, according to a new survey by Allianz Global Assistance.
According to Allianz’s “Top 10 Thanksgiving Destination Index,” the number of Americans traveling internationally to Punta Cana for Thanksgiving has nearly quadrupled in size since last year, showing a tremendous turnaround for the Dominican Republic.
Allianz Global Assistance reviewed more than 2.4 million flight itineraries around Thanksgiving, with outbound travel scheduled between Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019, and Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 28, 2019.
It is a welcome sign for the Caribbean nation, which suffered a decline in tourism numbers earlier this year after a string of vacationer deaths made international headlines. The slump was recently buoyed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s toxicology report findings that the deaths were unrelated and resulted from natural causes.
The other top 10 international destinations, in order of popularity, are: Cancun, London, Paris, San Juan, San Jose Del Cabo, Nassau, Puerto Vallarta, Montego Bay, and Mexico City.
Cancun dominated as the number one international destination for four consecutive years, until it was dethroned by Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, which climbed seven positions to the top of the international index.
This highlights a trend also seen in Travel Market Report’s recent 2019 Mexico Outlook, where 78% of respondents said that they had clients tell them they didn’t want to travel to Mexico over the past six months. The country’s tourism industry has faced challenges from negative media coverage, to sargassum seaweed, and the closure of the country’s tourist board.
Of the 800 travel advisors polled in Travel Market Report’s 2019 Mexico Outlook, 84% said media reports about crime and other negative reports were the largest reason clients did not want to travel to Mexico, followed by discouragement from friends and/or family (59%), clients looking for something new (53%), and seaweed issues (45%).
On the domestic side, according to Allianz’s “Top 10 Thanksgiving Destination Index,” New York City is the preferred domestic Thanksgiving destination among American travelers, for the fifth consecutive year. After New York City, the top U.S destinations are: Atlanta, Orlando, Los Angeles, Boston, Dallas, Seattle, Detroit, Chicago, and Phoenix. Chicago rejoins the list this year, knocking out Minneapolis as a top 10 destination.